On Tuesday afternoon, SRH announced via Twitter that Prithviraj would fill in for the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Prithvi Raj Yarra
Prithvi Raj Yarra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“One man’s loss is another man’s gain”, they say, and there isn’t a more fitting proverb to describe Andhra Pradesh fast-bowler, Yarra Prithviraj’s wildcard entry into the 2020 IPL.

Earlier this week, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) were dealt a massive blow when Bhuvneshwar Kumar, their premier Indian speedster, picked up a hip injury and was subsequently ruled out from the tournament. SRH, however, were quick to announce his replacement; on Tuesday afternoon, they announced via Twitter that Prithviraj would fill in for the injured team India quick.

Prithviraj, the 22-year-old left-arm quick, further adds to SRH’s pool of talented, young Indian seamers. Given how consistently T Natarajan and Khaleel Ahmed have performed in the tournament so far, it’ll be interesting to see if he does break into the Orange-Army’s playing XI. Not to mention, he’ll be in close competition against the likes of Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, and Basil Thampi.

Here are some interesting facts about the latest Indian quick to join the SRH ranks:

1. Born and brought up in the Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh

Prithviraj Yarra was born in Duggirala, a small village in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district. He has been raised in Duggirala all his life, which makes the experience of representing his home state, Andhra Pradesh, in the domestic circuit even more special.

2. Picked six-wickets in his first-class debut against Tamil Nadu in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy

The lanky left-armer had a first-class debut to savour against his cross-border rivals, Tamil Nadu, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Exploiting his control and left-arm angle at its optimum best, Prithviraj picked up a total of six wickets in the match, three across both innings.

His scalps included the likes of Abhinav Mukund, Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar; each of whom have represented the Indian national team at some point. His aggressive bowling helped Andhra Pradesh to draw the match convincingly.

3. Impressive List A debut against Hyderabad, 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy

While not exactly matching up to his stellar six-wicket Ranji outing against TN, Prithviraj personally had a good first game at his List A debut against Hyderabad at the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The left-armer accounted for the wickets of Akshath Reddy and Rohit Rayudu at the Hyderabad top-order and also collected an impressive catch of Chama Milind. Sadly, his heroics weren’t enough to save the match as Andhra were handed a 14-run defeat.

4. T20 debut against Jharkhand, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, 2018-19

Out of all his debut domestic matches, his T20 debut against Jharkhand was the one where he had the most impact. Bowling against a quality Jharkhand team, Yarra came up with a tight and disciplined bowling display, which duly rewarded him with the wickets of Virat Singh, Monu Kumar and Shahbaz Nadeem. His Man of the Match worthy spell of 3.5-0-28-3 helped Andhra win the match by 3-runs.

5. Maiden fifer against Goa, Vijay Hazare, 2019-20

It didn’t take long for Prithviraj to unveil his genuine, wicket-taking potential on the competitive stage. Just one match fresh from his Vijay Hazare debut last season, the left-armer spiced up things in his very next performance; coming against Goa, in the following 2019-20 season.

Prithviraj showcased immense grit in his 5-over-spell, bowling with exceptional accuracy and getting the ball to swing as per his will. And his performance was duly rewarded in the end, as he finished with a MoTM-winning spell of 5-0-21-5; his first (and only till date) five-for in List A cricket.

6. Selections for Duleep and Deodhar Trophy

A proven customer to the domestic season, Prithviraj’s impressive showings were duly rewarded when he was selected for the India Red team in the 2018-19 Duleep Trophy.

But the presence of some experienced local campaigners in the side meant that he could only feature in the team’s opening match. His figures read 14-2-46-0 and he was benched for the subsequent matches.

He did get another chance to feature in the country’s premier domestic tournament; this time in the One-Day format, when he was picked for India B in the 2019-20 Deodhar Trophy. But a last moment injury to Sandeep Warrier caused him to move over to India A team. Yarra featured in the match against India C and returned with figures of 7-0-48-0.

7. Snapped up in the 2019 IPL auctions by Kolkata Knight Riders

Every upcoming domestic cricketer craves to be a part of the Indian Premier League- the premier T20 tournament all across the globe. Yarra’s moment under the sun came during the 2019 IPL auctions; when the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) snapped him up for his base price at INR 20 Lakhs.

8. Brilliant IPL debut against SRH

Prasidh Krishna’s poor run of form meant that KKR had to test their limited local pace-bowling options. This allowed Yarra, aged 21 then, to make a much-anticipated debut against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

The left-armer made an impression from his first over itself, as he almost managed to hole out Jonny Bairstow at deep-point; only for the fielder to make a mess of the catch. But that hardly deterred him, as he arrived fresh onto his spell in the 12th over and castled David Warner with a brilliant slower-one.

9. KKR is his favourite team, looks up to Dinesh Karthik as captain

Before getting picked for the Sunrisers, Prithviraj, over on a video interview, had revealed that the Kolkata Knight Riders was his favourite team right from the first season. He eagerly looked back to his time in the KKR dressing room, and also conveyed his eagerness to return to the Knight Club at some later point.

Further, he appreciated his erstwhile captain, Dinesh Karthik, for easing the pressure on his debut. Yarra claims that in his debut match, DK spoke to him in his native, Telugu language; which really helped ease the pressure off his shoulders.

10. Warner, Andre Russell favourite batsmen; Mitchell Johnson and Starc favourite bowlers

They say a bowler’s first wicket is always special- and it couldn’t be any truer for Prithviraj, who idolizes ‘Warner’ Gadu as his favourite batsman. Looks like he can’t wait to play under his new skipper at the SRH camp! Apart from Warner, he is also a fan of his ex-KKR teammate, Andre ‘Dre Russ’ Russell.

Bowling wise, too, there are some special left-arm bowlers whom Prithviraj wishes to emulate in his career. Australian left-arm quicks Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson are his bowling idols.

~Written by Soham Bhowal

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